Third national car plan to fortify Asean trade ties
Published on: Thursday, October 11, 2018

Kuala Lumpur: Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad's push for a third national car brand is aimed to consolidate trade within Asean to weather potential fallout from ongoing economic tension between the US and China, Darell Leiking (pic) said.The International Trade Minister said Dr Mahathir's plan was for the Malaysian brand to be built with parts manufactured by neighbouring countries.

"What Mahathir meant was that he needed something where Malaysians can get together, Asean can get together, to supply components of this vehicle and make it into a national car in Asean, not only in Malaysia," he told Bloomberg in an interview published Wednesday.

"It's ambitious but I think that it's necessary now, more so when you want to create an economic bloc like Asean."

Leiking added that some Asean member nations have expressed interest in the project.

Bloomberg reported that the 10-member Asean bloc is now the top destination among one-third of over 430 American companies in China.

The business wire added that Thailand is Asean's biggest car maker currently. South-east Asia's second biggest economy, after Indonesia, is assembling cars for Japan's Toyota Motor Corp, India's Tata Motors Ltd and Ford Motor Co.

However, Malaysia's location in the centre of the region makes it a strategic shipping hub and which the federal government hopes to capitalise on in the next couple of years as US and Chia seek alternatives for supplies, especially in electronics and steel.

Leiking said the third national car will also not be competing with Proton or Perodua, the past two brands created by the past Mahathir administration, but will compete in a market beyond Malaysia.

"So this is not competing with Proton, this is not competing even with Perodua, this is not competing with anyone. This is a separate thing altogether."


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